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When you’re living with chronic neck and back pain, you may often find yourself sitting, standing, walking and performing daily tasks differently to compensate for your pain. If you aren’t careful, these adjustments can result in pulled muscles, soreness and even injury. One way to avoid this scenario and relieve some of your discomfort is to perform a quick, deep massage on the affected area. Massage therapy can help relieve stress and increase your energy, while helping to decrease aches and pains that are associated with various spinal conditions.

But what if you don’t have a massage therapist on speed dial? Don’t worry! You have all the tools you need to help alleviate your pain.

Here are 4 tips for performing a quick neck and shoulder massage all on your own:

  1. Warm up the area you are going to massage. This can be done by placing a warm towel on the sore area, or by rubbing your hands up and down your neck and shoulders to create heat.
  2. Using primarily your index and middle finger, make circular motions with deep pressure around the neck and shoulder area. Be sure to avoid the cervical spine and only focus on the muscles surrounding it.
  3. You can stretch the muscles by gently tilting your head back and squeezing the flesh at the base of your neck. Tilt your head forward while still gripping your skin and hold for 10-15 seconds.
  4. If there is a specific area on your back that you can’t reach with your hands, you can use a tennis ball to massage it out. Stand next to a wall and place the tennis ball on the sore muscle. Press your body against the wall while placing pressure on the tennis ball. You can gently move up and down or left to right to massage the muscle. If you are able to, you can modify this method by lying on the floor and using your body weight to press the tennis ball against the floor and massage the aching muscle.

We can’t say this enough – be sure to stand up and walk around every 30 minutes or so to get your blood flowing and to stretch your muscles. Try devoting a few minutes of your walking break to massaging your neck and shoulders, especially if you work in front of a computer or sit in a chair for a long period of time. You can utilize these simple tips when traveling, sitting in a meeting, or even when you need a quiet moment to gather your thoughts and recuperate. It might take a little bit of practice, but soon you’ll be an expert at alleviating your own muscle pain.

Talk to your doctor to find out if regular massages with a licensed massage therapist can help alleviate your chronic back and neck pain. If you have back pain that has lasted longer than two weeks, contact Dr. Chetan Patel at the Spine Health Institute. He and his team can help treat your pain and get you back up to speed in no time.

References:
Chronic Low-Back Pain and Complementary Health Approaches. (n.d.). Retrieved from National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/providers/digest/chronic-low-back-pain-science
Massage Therapy: What You Knead to Know. (n.d.). Retrieved from NIH News in Health: http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/jul2012/feature2
Multiple 60-Minute Massages per Week Offer Relief for Chronic Neck Pain. (n.d.). Retrieved from National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: http://nccam.nih.gov/research/results/spotlight/060214

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